Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

Once Upon a Time in the Midlands 2002

Directed by Shane Meadows

Germany / UK In English
100 minutes 35mm



Paul Fraser
Shane Meadows


Brian Tufano


Peter Beston
Trevor Waite


Robert Carlyle
Rhys Ifans
Kathy Burke
Shirley Henderson
Ricky Tomlinson


Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight), Edinburgh, Toronto 2002


“No one can accuse Shane Meadows of being anything other than a director of small gems. His bittersweet fictions are as addictive as pop songs. As the title suggests, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands puts a playful English spin on the idea of a western. There’s a cheeky twang to the soundtrack, and Brian Tufano’s photography creates deserts out of empty urban sprawls and dead-end streets. Again he probes the anguish of estranged fathers and fractured suburban families that haunted his last two films, TwentyFourSeven and A Room for Romeo Brass. But there’s a fresh, improvised feel about this that makes the story feel sharper than usual. Robert Carlyle plays a Glaswegian hardman who drifts back to reclaim his wife (Shirley Henderson) and 12-year-old daughter. But Henderson has taken up with Rhys Ifans’ geeky car mechanic…” — James Christopher, The Times  

“A marvelously involving family saga… Brit social realism meets the spaghetti Western – and the former wins.” — Derek Elley, Variety